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Amazon nears US$9 billion MGM deal

Amazon could wrap up its deal to acquire James Bond and Fargo studio MGM as early as this week, according to reports.

The acquisition, valued at around $9bn including debt, would mark Amazon’s second biggest-ever deal and set down a marker to its streaming competitors as the battle for subscribers hots up.

The move was first reported last week and acquisition talks are now exclusive between the two parties and in the final stages, according to the Wall Street Journal, although the US business title added that there was no agreement yet.

The Handmaid’s Tale

MGM would hand Amazon’s streaming service Prime Video access to a raft of IP including FX drama Fargo and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

It is also behind the Hobbit movie franchises but has been hit hard by the pandemic and the latest instalment of its key James Bond franchise – No Time To Die – has been postponed multiple times as cinemas faced closure.

Initial news of the deal emerged following AT&T’s decision to combine WarnerMedia and Discovery, a move that analysts have suggested will initiate further M&A across the sector as streamers vie for content.

MGM, meanwhile, has been the subject of persistent takeover rumours over recent months, with reports in December that the company had appointed investment banks to advise on a potential sale.

The US studio has been without a formal CEO since Gary Barber left after holding potential sale talks with Apple.

Vikings

The company has more recent been overhauling its international operations, hiring former Studiocanal MD Rola Bauer to lead its global TV productions while execs including SVP of UK, China & European co-productions Charlie Farmer have exited, as revealed by TBI.

The studio, which is owned by US private equity firm Anchorage Capital, has been behind TV shows such as History’s Vikings, its spin-off Vikings: Valhallafor Netflix, Get Shorty for Epix, and Condor for AT&T’s Audience Network.

The company also has a Spanish-language joint venture with Gato Grande Productions, which is behind Netflix’s Luis Miguel: The Series.